Puslapio vaizdai

The antithesis of Thought and Being, of the Mind and Nature, about which all philosophy turns, first presents itself in a one-sided form, one or the other factor being neglected.

a If we consider Being alone, or principally, then Reality is to us contained in the Outward ; and as we do not see its true relation to Thought, it is an uncomprehended something, the highest attribute of which is Being; a pure abstraction of the Outward, and thus altogether unideal, rude, - Matter. This is the natural position of the Occidental mind.

The Orientals, on the other hand, are prone to consider Reality as pure Thought. The highest Reality to them is Mind, from which all trace of the Material is removed, abstract Soul. The most important theological dogma to us is that God exists. But to the Hindoos the highest description of God is as the One Soul which does not admit of incarnation, and to whom Existence is the illusive show with which He disports himself. The Deity is here pure introversion; mere homogeneousness and equality with himself, that is, pure, abstract Thought. This is the earliest and the simplest conceivable form of speculation, and it must be acknowledged that these writings display an earnestness and intensity of abstraction that would seem to indicate a great depth of philosophical genius.

There is something irresistibly commanding in the terrible simplicity of this Idealism ; partially typified, also, in the colossal sculptures of Ellora and Elephanta. But like its opposite, Materialism, it rests on an extreme abstraction, and is thus altogether one-sided and incomplete ; and although as speculation it stands higher than Materialism, since it demands a comprehension of the relation of Nature to the mind, - yet,

- , on the other hand, it cuts off the solution of the problem, by a mere negation, which does not dispose of Nature, but merely forbids any further consideration of it.

The Hindoo Idealism might seem at first sight the most thoroughgoing possible ; — yet such is not the case. The reality of the Outward, of Nature, is denied, yet it remains, as an existing unreality. It is actual existence, only not the existence of God. But, then, whence does it derive its power to exist ? The answer is, from God, who created and sustains it as an unreality, an illusion. Then Soul, the One Principle, which is Reality, does not embrace the whole Universe, but there is, moreover, something unreal and material, which is yet existent, and created by God — who, how


ever, is identical with the One Soul, and thus pure Reality. Evidently, therefore, a qualification of the principle is necessary. Soul is no longer pure soul, but also material : Reality not purely real, but also, in some relations, unreal ; namely, as to Man. So also the Material is no longer pure negation, but qualified. It is nothing as to God, but something as to Man. Nor is this to be avoided by saying that Man is an unreality, and his supposed knowledge, the relation of Nature to his mind, mere deception. For the illusion by which he is deceived must be real, else it is no illusion, and then our knowledge is real. In other words, the relation between the mind and Nature being established by God, must be a reality, and thus our perception a reality also, whether we perceive correctly or not; a subjective reality, at least, though, perhaps, not objective.

In spite of all, then, Nature remains something, which, according to the principle, it should not. It is something unspiritual, and, though created by God, foreign to him,

existing properly only in the minds of created beings, not in his own. This is Evil, Impurity, that which ought not to be, but is.

It is interesting to observe in passing, the resemblance of this view to Fichte's, in whose system also Nature is merely the Unspiritual and Evil. In the Hindoo view, as in his, moreover, Nature, though mere negation, is yet necessary, as the pièce de résistance, by the negation of which its opposite is affirmed.

Skepticism, then, is here possible only as to the reality of things in themselves, out of our perception of them - (Kant's and Fichte's Dinge an sich); whether, apart from the phenomenal and perceptible world there be a super-phenomenal reality in nature, distinct from God. This skepticism, therefore, does not apply to all belief in existence -- to Nature as presented to the senses - but only to a dogmatic conception

of Nature as an independent supersensuous reality. Matter is an independent reality to the senses, because the senses partake of its nature, and thus do not transcend it. Sensuous perception is a relation established by God, and thus that which is perceived is independent of the finite mind. To God, however, or the mind unencumbered by personality, Matter is only this relation, and in itself, apart from this relation, it is nothing. An illusion is the substitution of an idea, formed in one's mind, for an outward reality. Creation, therefore, may be called a Divine illusion, since in it what was contained in

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the mind of the Creator becomes an outward reality for the creature. The expression, however, is an improper one, since the word illusion implies deceit, and such indeed is its general acceptation in the Hindoo writings. Here the same erroneous notion shows itself, which we saw in the ethical view of the Outward as Evil and Impurity. Both postulate that Matter is in itself a reality independent of Mind; that Nature is independent of God. For illusion is such only by contrast with Reality and real knowledge. If the illusiveness of the phe-' nomenal world, therefore, be held to consist in its transcience, Reality must be a permanence of the phenomenal, as something separate from Spirit, from the Creator. In that case Creation would be the substitution of a shadowy and transient existence for a solid reality; and would thus be a deception; - and Nature would be an eternal undivine existence, and (being independent of the Creator) an eternal negation of God, or eternal Evil.

The main peculiarities of the Hindoo view, therefore, do not come from its Idealism, but from its Materialism. It is an essentially incomplete Idealism, because it does not dispose of Matter by reducing it to an idea, but only ignores it ; hence a reaction, and a passage to its opposite, Materialism, was unavoidable. Nature not being shown to be included in Spirit, but merely excluded by it, remained as its opposite, mere negation ; and Spirit also was thus degraded into the mere opposite of Nature, - mere immateriality, or unembodied soul. Skepticism was the necessary result.

It would be interesting, did our limits allow, to show the development of this principle in the institutions and character of the Hindoos. It would also be of the highest interest to contrast with it (and thereby illustrate the same great truth,) its opposite, Materialism, and show how it in turn, by the same necessity of symmetry, passes into Idealism, and at last to the common meeting-point of Skepticism; — how from Locke to Berkeley and Hume there is a progress not at all accidental, but necessary, and involved in the very principles started with. Art. II. — Memoir of William Ellery Channing ; with

Extracts from his Correspondence and Manuscripts. In three volumes. Boston. 1848. 12mo. pp. 427, 459, 494.

It is now nearly six years since William Ellery Channing, ceasing to be mortal, passed on to his rest and his reward. We have waited impatiently for the publication of his memoirs, that we might “ beg a hair of him for memory.” They are now before us — three well printed volumes, mainly filled up with his own writings, letters, extracts from journals, sermons, and various papers hitherto kept from the press. As a public speaker and popular writer he was well known before; these volumes show us not merely the minister and the author, but the son, husband, father, and friend. If they reveal nothing new in his character, we have yet in them ample materials for ascertaining whence came his influence and his power. What estimate shall we make of the man, and what lesson draw from his life and works? These are matters worth considering, but, before answering the question, let us look a little at the opportunities afforded him by his profession.

The Church and State are two conspicuous and important forms of popular action. The State is an institution which represents man in his relations with man ; – the Church, man in his relations with man and God. These institutions, vary. ing in their modifications, have always been and must be, as they represent two modes of action that are constant in the Human Race, and come from the imperishable nature of man. In each of these modes of action, the People have their servants, - Politicians, the servants of the State, and Clergymen, the servants of the Church.

Now the clergyman may be a Priest, or a Minister — the choice depending on his character and ability. The same distinctions are noticeable in the servants of the State, where we have the Priest of Politics and the Minister of Politics. We will pass over the Priest.

The business of the minister is to become a spiritual guide to men, to instruct by his wisdom, elevate by his goodness, refine and strengthen by his piety, to inspire by his whole soul -- to serve and to lead by going before them all his days with all his life, a pillar of cloud by day, of fire by night. The good shepherd giveth his life to his sheep as well as for them.

The minister aims to be, to do, and to suffer, in special for his own particular parish, but also and in general for mankind at large. He proposes for himself this end: the elevation of mankind, — their physical elevation to health, comfort, abundance, skill, and beauty; their intellectual elevation to thought, refinement, and wisdom; their moral and religious elevation to goodness and piety, till they all become sons of God also, and prophets. However, his direct and main business is to promote the Spiritual Growth of men, helping them to love one another, and to love God.

His means to this end are, in general, the common weapons of the church. To him the Sunday is a high day, for it is the great day of work, when he comes into close relations with men, to instruct the mind, to warn in the name of conscience, gently arousing the affections, kindling the religious emotions, and so continuing his Father's work; the Meeting-house, chapel, or church, is the great place for his work, and so, like the Sunday, it is holy to him ; — both invested with a certain sanctity, as to the pious farmer or smith, the Plough or the Hammer seems a sacred thing. The Bible, the service-books, the traditions he appeals to, the sacramental ordinances he uses, all are means but not ends, helps to whom they help, but nothing more, their sanctity derivative, not of them but of the use they serve. In our day, the Press offers him its aid, and stands ready to distribute his thought among the millions of mankind. By means of that he gradually gets beyond the bounds of his parish, rural or metropolitan, and, if God has so gifted him, has whole nations for his audience, and, long after his death, his word will circulate among the nations a word of power and blessedness.

The minister finds a certain respect paid to the clergyman. This is not a thing that is new, but old, hallowed, and slowly fading out of the consciousness of the nations. This traditional respect gives him a certain position and influence, and enables him at once to anticipate and claim a place which is granted to other classes of men only as the result of long life and faithful work. He finds a pulpit erected for him, an audience gathered, respectful and disposed to listen and gratefully to receive whatever good he has to offer. While the priest uses this position and traditional respect to elevate himself, to take his ease in his inn to keep men still, the minister uses it to help men forward ; not to elevate himself, but them. The pulpit is his place to stand on and move the

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